"my name is morningstar -- and I am a wicked stepmother".
Trust me when I say being a stepmother is a very difficult job - more difficult I think than being a mother to your own children. You walk a fine line - not wanting to upset the apple cart....... worrying about how the father will accept your ideas -- worrying about how the mother will perceive your involvement. It has been a difficult 3 years -- and a great 3 years as well. We've had more than a few struggles -- and a whole lot of successes!
I know many of you who commented on my post Chatty Cathy thought I might be missing something.. or was being too hard ... or my expectations were too high. I'm used to those assumptions....... shrug..... heard the same things for 25+ years of teaching...... and from 20+ years of raising my own girls. BUT I also know that the results of my work produced independently strong /motivated /capable human beings. That's what really matters.
Soooooooooo getting back to this latest challenge with the lil one.
Sir Steve got an appointment with the teacher on Thursday. My first question to the teacher was "do you tell the lil one to stop talking?" (because the lil one looked us right in the eye and said the teacher NEVER told her to stop talking). The teacher said of course - but she doesn't stop. We discussed how these chatty cathy behaviours have been plaguing us since Kindergarten. I explained that we were more than willing to work with the teacher -- BUT there was only so much we could do from home.
Then the lil one joined us. The look on her face when she saw her dad and I talking with her teacher reinforced my belief that she never believed we would actually come into school and talk with the teacher! She admitted in front of us all that she had lied about talking - about the teacher not trying to stop her. We talked about how disappointed we were ..... that we expected more from her... we expected her to show respect to the teacher and the other children in the classroom. We told the lil one that the teacher was going to send home a 'report' on how she was doing every week... that we were all going to work together.
(in my experience - children whose families communicated with me - brain stormed with me for solutions - and keeping the children included in those meetings/brain storming sessions - those were the children who improved the most !)
Then the lil one went off to her mother's for the weekend. Over the weekend I brainstormed some ideas that might help the lil one to focus and work to her full potential. She knows what I expect .... and when we work together here at home she never fails to produce her best. How to get her to work like that when I wasn't with her???
I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea.
One of the mantras I have been using with her is "I don't like this behaviour BUT I do love you and always will!" separate the behaviour from the child....... make damn sure the child knows you love them !!
When the lil one came home to us yesterday I had an infinity bracelet for her..... a love forever bracelet. I gave it to her and explained that it was to remind her that even when she didn't succeed - even when she broke the rules I would always love her. AND I added wearing the bracelet every day was like having me sitting beside her watching over her.
She was watching me intently while I explained why I was giving her this bracelet... she was quiet for a bit but then a grin broke out over her face and she said to me "it's like I have a fairy on my wrist -- and the fairy is YOU" ....... yup I do believe she got it.
Life is good when you find a strategy that works -- for now.